Katatonia - _Discouraged Ones_
(Avantgarde, 1998)
by: Pedro Azevedo (9 out of 10)
I can only draw one comparison between _Discouraged Ones_ and Katatonia's first album, the sorrowful masterpiece that is, for me, _Dance of December Souls_. In my opinion, the main emotion portrayed in _Dance of December Souls_ is sorrow; ultimately, the same can be said about _Brave Murder Day_. _Discouraged Ones_, however, as the name itself indicates, is more of a work of discouragement. Musically, relative to their _Sounds of Decay_ EP [CoC #28], the main changes concern the vocals (all clean now) and song structuring (very conventionally chorus-oriented now, far from the early days and also more conventional than in _Sounds of Decay_). For a Katatonia fan, these three changes should define _Discouraged Ones_ well enough already, for the musical quality hasn't been lost. Renske's clean vocals are adequately doomy most of the time, even if exceptions do appear. Instrumentally, besides the (in my opinion, unfortunate) song structure changes, similarities to _Sounds of Decay_ are often easy to find, despite all the changes. "Deadhouse" and especially "I Break" are brilliant examples of what Katatonia can achieve through their new sound, and most other songs follow those close enough. However, in my very personal opinion, "Distrust" and especially "Relention" should never have been on a Katatonia album, and neither should the kind of guitar solos found in the last two tracks. Overall, this is a great album that I feel could have been even better, considering who made it. Nevertheless, my rating reflects the fact that I do not find _Discouraged Ones_ superior to October Tide's _Rain Without End_ [CoC #30], which I personally enjoy better, nor quite as outstanding as the music in Katatonia's _Sounds of Decay_ EP. Still, let it be very clear that this is one remarkable album, full of musical quality and the blend of emotions and music that Katatonia have always superbly achieved -- even though these are different now: discouraging, rather than sorrowful.

(article published 7/6/1998)

8/12/2001 D Rocher /
P Azevedo /
A Bromley
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